West Wing
Swiss Diplomacy

Episode Report Card
Deborah: D+ | Grade It Now!
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WTF?

Jed's still writing thank-you notes. His clock is ticking loudly in the background. He starts looking around for something -- what is it he's always rooting around for? Remember he was doing the same thing at the beginning of the show? -- Nancy sticks her head in and asks if he can see Sam. He can. I think Martin Sheen's lost weight. Sam comes in and Jed says, "You're the nominee." Sam insists that there is no nominee and everyone's on the ballot. Jed: "Is there another Democrat?" Sam says no. Jed: "You're the nominee." Is Sam running for Congress, or King of Denial? Dude, face it, you're the nominee. Jed says he knows how Sam feels, and asks if he likes Scott Holcomb. Sam says he doesn't know him well. Jed says he's good. Sam: "There's a good guy out there named Will Bailey, if he should come across your radar." Radar? If Jed stood at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, blindfolded, and tossed ping-pong balls randomly about himself, he could hardly fail to detect Will Bailey. Jed asks if he's going to campaign on prescription drugs. Sam replies, "Our prescription-drug bill, yes, sir. And our Medicare reforms and the Bartlet Energy Plan..." Jed says, "Sam...it's okay to run away from me when you need to." I'd get that in writing. Sam: "I would never, Mr. President. I simply would never do that. That's not how I'm getting votes." And you know he's not just saying it. Oh Sam, you gotta stop being such a Boy Scout. God love ya, and all, but seriously: this is a pretty cutthroat business. Better wise up. On the other hand, you'll probably get a lot of votes just for being nice and pretty, so what do I know? Jed says he appreciates that, but that's not what he's talking about: "You disagreed with me on Medicare. I remember the meeting right here. Then you wrote a five-page memo." Sam looks slightly uncomfortable. Jed advises him, "Run towards yourself. I'm wrong about that -- walk. You're not going to be used to your surroundings." Sam: "Yes, sir." Jed: "If you lose, you lose. But if you waste this, I'll kill you. I'll just kill you, Sam." Sam: "Yes, sir." Jed asks if there's anything else. Sam thanks him and leaves. Let me guess: we see about two minutes of Sam per episode (on the phone from California, probably) until February sweeps and his final exit?

Jed goes back to his note-writing. Leo comes in and asks, "Thank-you notes?" Jed says yeah, and that he's going to bed. Leo asks: "You don't really like making thank-you calls, do you?" Jed takes off his glasses, stares at him for a moment, and says, "Spill it." Leo asks how many precinct captains he lined up for Hoynes. Jed says he didn't line them up. Leo interrupts, saying, "Forty-seven. Charlie showed me the call sheets." Jed: "I said thanks of behalf of the ticket. I can't help it if..." Leo just glares: "Yeah." Jed says they'll think whatever they want. Leo says they think he's freezing the race for Hoynes. Jed: "I'm freezing it for us. We just won four more years. It's not time for a free-for-all." Leo tells him, "This shouldn't be what you do anymore." Jed considers that for a bit, then asks, "Do I call them all back?" Leo says they'll take care of it. Jed says all right and packs up his briefcase. Leo tells him Tehran's going to accelerate medium-range missile tests by two weeks. Jed does a coat flip with his jacket as Leo says they'll gather the NSC principals in the morning. Jed: "All right. Anything else?" Leo: "Salman Afkham was wheeled into surgery fifteen minutes ago." Jed nods and says, "Mohabi's day just started." Leo: "Well, I suppose there are worse ways for ours to end." Jed says, "Yeah, that's right." They exchange subdued smiles. Jed walks out onto the portico and the camera follows him until he's almost out of sight. You know, I don't think the fact that this episode was weak means that no one but Sorkin can write a good episode. And I think it's reasonable and smart to let other people have a run at it, though I think it would have also been smart to get Sorkin to polish the script. This was very disjointed and weak. At least when Sorkin writes, you're getting it directly from the horse's mouth, for better or worse. Too much of this seems to have come from the other end.

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West Wing

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